Key Controls NASA Employs to Guide Use and Management of Funded Space Act Agreements Are Generally Sufficient, but Some Could Be Strengthened and Clarified

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Congress granted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) authority to enter into transactions other than contracts, leases, and cooperative agreements; this gave the agency greater flexibility in achieving its mission. NASA uses its other transaction authority through three kinds of instruments known as Space Act agreements. Specifically, NASA uses reimbursable agreements when costs associated with an undertaking are reimbursed by the agreement partner (in full or in part); the agency uses non-reimbursable agreements when each party bears the ... continued below

Creation Information

United States. Government Accountability Office. November 17, 2011.

Context

This text is part of the collection entitled: Government Accountability Office Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this text can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this text or its content.

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this text. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Congress granted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) authority to enter into transactions other than contracts, leases, and cooperative agreements; this gave the agency greater flexibility in achieving its mission. NASA uses its other transaction authority through three kinds of instruments known as Space Act agreements. Specifically, NASA uses reimbursable agreements when costs associated with an undertaking are reimbursed by the agreement partner (in full or in part); the agency uses non-reimbursable agreements when each party bears the cost of participation in mutually beneficial activities. In 2006, NASA began to use a third kind of agreement--referred to as funded Space Act agreements--that have involved NASA providing significant funds to private industry partners to stimulate the development of large-scale commercial space transportation capabilities. Under a funded Space Act agreement, appropriated funds are transferred to a domestic partner, such as a private company or a university, to accomplish an agency mission. These agreements differ from Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contracts in that they do not include requirements that generally apply to government contracts entered into under the authority of the FAR. For example, under these agreements, partners are not required to comply with government contract quality assurance requirements. NASA policy provides that this authority may only be used when agency objectives cannot be achieved through the use of a procurement contract, grant, or cooperative agreement. As of October 31, 2011, NASA has used funded Space Act agreements to provide industry partners with $833.1 million for completion of developmental milestones, with the aim of potentially procuring crew (i.e., transporting astronauts) and cargo transportation services to the space station. Partners can collectively earn another $248.3 million under these agreements through the first half of 2012. It is important that NASA have strong internal controls in place to ensure proper use and management of funded Space Act agreements because they (1) permit considerable latitude by agencies and companies in negotiating agreement terms and (2) may not include the same oversight requirements found in traditional FAR-governed contracts. NASA has established policies and guidance for implementing agreements under its other transaction authority, specifically NASA Policy Directive 1050.1I, Authority to Enter into Space Act Agreements and NASA Advisory Implementing Instruction 1050-1A, Space Act Agreements Guide. In this context, Congress asked us to evaluate the extent to which NASA's controls ensure the agency appropriately manages funded Space Act agreements and enters into funded Space Act agreements only when its objectives cannot be achieved through any other agreement instrument, such as a federal procurement contract. This letter is the third based on Congressional request to review NASA's use of Space Act agreements. The previous two letters dealt with NASA's use of reimbursable Space Act agreements. We have also testified recently on NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which has been executed under funded Space Act agreements. COTS is focused on supporting and stimulating the development of a commercial market for space transportation, from which NASA could potentially acquire cargo transportation services (e.g., delivery of supplies to maintain the space station and equipment to conduct research)."

Subjects

Keywords

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this text in the Digital Library or other systems.

Collections

This text is part of the following collection of related materials.

Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

What responsibilities do I have when using this text?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this text.

Creation Date

  • November 17, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this text last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 0
Total Uses: 3

Where

Geographical information about where this text originated or about its content.

Place Name

Publication Place

Map Information

  • map marker Automatically generated Place Name coordinates.
  • map marker Automatically generated Publication Place coordinates.
  • Repositioning map may be required for optimal printing.

Mapped Locations

Interact With This Text

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

United States. Government Accountability Office. Key Controls NASA Employs to Guide Use and Management of Funded Space Act Agreements Are Generally Sufficient, but Some Could Be Strengthened and Clarified, text, November 17, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301386/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.